I'm not a summer person. Oh, don't get me wrong: I like the sun. A lovely, clear, breezy day, about 72 degrees, is a thing of beauty. But summer--at least around here--is just too much of a good thing. Weeks of 80 degree plus temperatures and blistering sun keep me hiding my lily-white skin indoors and longing for the cool, damp skies of November.
So you can imagine my reaction to Las Vegas in July. Holy mother of dog, whose idea was it to build a city right smack in the middle of hell?! (The question is rhetorical.) And more importantly, why?! (Again, rhetorical.) It was 108 degrees every day we were there, with chilly night temperatures in the 90's. But, as they say, it's a DRY heat. They're not kidding. It's the sort of dry that sucks every drop of moisture out of your body the moment you step outside. The sort that causes your eyes to shrivel and your eyelids to stick. The sort that wakes you up in the middle of the night, choking because your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth and you can't swallow. To compensate for the heat, the hotels, casinos, and restaurants keep their thermostats set at a steady Ice Age. Woolly Mammoths would be comfortable in a Vegas casino in the summer. I spent the week alternately broiling and freezing, without clothing to accommodate either extreme. (Although I'm not sure what would have been appropriate. Little black dress with a parka? Bikini with snow boots? Whatever it was, I didn't have it in my suitcase.)
Despite the freakishly hot and over-air conditioned conditions, we had a marvelous time. We saw Cirque du Soleil's "O" and "Mamma Mia", and we had several outstanding meals at top-notch restaurants. We wandered the hotels and casinos and shops, and even braved the outdoors to cross the Strip. Briefly. There is a concrete bridge over Las Vegas Boulevard from the Bellagio (where we stayed) to Caesar's Palace. It is an open bridge, and although it looks quite short, appearances are deceiving. The white concrete absorbs the heat from the Death Star and concentrates it, reflecting it back up to pedestrians on the bridge. About halfway across, the temperature is roughly 10,000 degrees and you realize suddenly that you just might not be able to make it. You look behind you, trying to determine whether it might be closer to return to the starting point. You look ahead, trying to see how much further it is to shelter. Then you notice that the hair on your legs is starting to smoke, and the soles of your shoes are melting to the concrete and you just make a run for it. I'm pretty sure I saw bleached skulls around the midpoint of the bridge. He who hesitates is lost.
So it's probably not surprising that I was overcome by the urge to cast on a winter sweater as soon as I arrived home. (I had nothing on the needles except a little lace scarf. I really need to post some FO shots soon.)
I have some Noro Transitions that I picked up during a Ram Wools sale a few months ago. I bought it to make a winter jacket, and I've been just itching to try it (no pun intended--truly). So I dug it out of the stash.
This is some gorgeous yarn. I have a love-hate relationship with Noro yarns generally. I love the colors, hate the textures. Some Noro yarns, particularly those with angora, like Kochoran, are next-to-the skin soft. But, let's face it: no matter how beautiful the colors, you could scrub your oven with Kureyon. And the fiber content isn't always a reliable indicator of the texture. One would think that a yarn called "Silk Garden" would pretty much have to be soft, right? Not so much.
But Transitions is a real treat. It has a reasonable amount of both silk and angora, which I was counting on to soften the wool. (I order almost all my yarn online, since the only yarn store near me considers Cascade 220 to be an "exotic" yarn.) And I'm not disappointed. In the skein, it feels a lot like Kochoran--nubby and not terribly soft, with a sort of dry hand. But, also like Kochoran, it softens as it's worked and the little angora fibers come to the surface. I am anticipating that it will also respond well to washing. The texture of Kochoran changes dramatically when it's washed, from a stiff, slightly rough fabric to one that is drapey and buttery soft. Transitions is bulkier than Kochoran, and unique in that both the colors and the fibers change as you progress along the yarn. But I'm hoping it will also soften up more with washing.
And who can argue with these gorgeous colors?
This will be a jacket modeled on this design, but significantly modified to allow for greater length. I've been struggling a bit with just how to lengthen this design, since the fronts are knitted on the diagonal, while the back is done straight, and it's all worked in one piece. I can't just continue working until it's the right length, or I'll end up with fronts that are much too wide. I think I have it worked out, but there is going to be some trial and error with this one. So far, though, I'm really having fun with it. I've frogged the whole thing once already, but at a gauge of 3 stitches to the inch, frogging isn't all that bothersome. And I am endlessly entertained by the color and texture transitions.